Today I’m going to count down our favorite spots to watch the parade at Disneyland. This goes for a seasonal parade like the Christmas Fantasy Parade, Paint the Night, and Pixar Play Parade, to a regular mainstay like Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. The parade route stays the same, so this applies to all of them. You do need to find out if the parade will be starting in Small World or Town Square for each performance so you can estimate your wait.
5. Small World Promenade
There is a terraced area to the right of “it’s a small world” that is a good spot to catch the parade, especially if you are too late to get a brickside seat. Back here, you are above the people in front of you, so even the kids should be able to see above heads. When a parade is popular enough for reserved viewing, this area will likely be roped off for those guests. It’s that good!
4. Carnation Cafe
In September, 2018, I made reservations for 5:30pm at Carnation Cafe, knowing that the Pixar Play Parade was scheduled for 6:00pm. This gave us enough time to get seated, order, and receive our food before the parade came by. This spot is number four on the list because while it is fun to watch the parade from your seat at dinner, it’s not a perfect spot. Cast Members keep the area in front of you clear of people standing to watch, but it’s still a walkway. Also, you are not guaranteed to get the perfect table as we did.
3. Across from Mad Tea Party
Several years ago, we liked this spot for several reasons. Number one, no one else seemed to realize it was a viewing area and avoided it, and number two, the parade performers have a stretch just before this spot (if the parade is coming from Town Square) where there aren’t any guests to interact with, so they go straight to whomever is in this spot to wave or come over to. This spot has gotten a lot busier, so it isn’t our go-to anymore.
2. In Front of Storybook Land Canal Boats
On our September, 2018 trip, we had watched the parade from the Carnation Cafe (see number four above), but we like to be up close and personal for a parade, so we needed to watch it again. That’s when we found this spot in front of Storybook Land Canal Boats. Again, it’s another place where most guests don’t know that they can sit to watch the parade since there are walkways nearby, but shortly before showtime, Cast Members will rope this section off to separate the traffic from the parade viewing.
1. Along the Side of the Castle
Our Number One favorite spot to watch parades at Disneyland is along the side of Sleeping Beauty Castle, before the Alice in Wonderland restrooms. This spot is ideal because it has the best of both worlds: benches and brickside seats. The benches may appear busy before the parade starts, but usually it’s just people actually taking a break in their day or waiting for a member of their party to exit the restroom. They will move along, and then you can find a good spot. Just to be sure, I like to camp out here with a snack well before the parade is due and take a nice long break. Another tip is to catch the later parade to enjoy lesser crowds.